Peek-A-Boo

Day 28

Tonight, almost a week into my vacation in Pagadian City, I came home to my aunt’s house during a black out. My uncle said that it would last until 9 pm. So I would have to wait almost three hours until the power came back.

As I am writing this on my phone’s notepad app, it is 8:30. The kitchen is lit by a rechargeable emergency light. When the black out started, I ate dinner then sat at the table with my cousins while reading the newspaper and solving the Word puzzles.

After a while it got unbearably humid inside so I decided to take a step outside and enjoy the fresh air. My aunt’s house is built slightly elevated from the rest of the neighborhood, on top of a hill.

When I stepped out onto the back porch, I was welcomed by a beautiful view of the sky. A giant cloud occupied most of the view, but the silver lining made it evident that a bright, full moon was behind it.

I sat on the steps thinking about how maybe my heart is ready to move on. I was eager to see that shining sphere in all its glory, but all I could see was its silver lining. I looked down as a tear rolled down my cheek.

In just a moment, I looked up again; and my breath was taken away. I hadn’t noticed that the steady wind was gently moving the clouds, and the bright moon greeted me.

Hmph.
Let’s be real.

“You’re in love, girl”
The weight in my chest spoke affirmatively.

Taken from my phone as the moon came out of the clouds.

Taken from my phone as the moon came out of the clouds.

Will I ever move on? Is there a future for us? Is it worth pursuing?
I stared at the moon longing for answers, but the questions only multiplied.

I found peace in the clouds. The steady movement whispered comfort to me,

“life moves on.”

No matter how stranded or stuck I feel in the present, time will not stop moving. In my Savior, joy is near at all times, love never runs out, and grace is overflowing. In Him, my sorrow and confusion become peace; and excitement for what He’s doing.

I played peek-a-boo with the moon for a few moments as the clouds floated by. I thought about the words that were spoken and the love that was felt earlier today.

I know that whatever happens, I’ll always be glad that he came into my life. For now, however, I know I still have to work on me and let God work in me.

The power came back on.

Earth Cake Attempt a Success

One of the major requirements for my Earth Science class is to create a 3-D model of the earth’s structural layers. I remember creating a similar model in the eighth grade, so I anticipated that this would be a pretty easy task; until I stumbled upon a Buzzfeed article featuring this earth cake (thanks Pinterest!).  I thought since this was an easy project I would take this challenge to take it to another level.

Our professor had instructed us to purchase styrofoam balls to create our 3-D models, so I had to confirm with him that I could do this. He immediately took interest to the idea and was thrilled.

This was my first time to make a cake at this level of difficulty, so I asked my friend from class to be my partner.

DSC_0407

Our EarthSci class was a 3-hour night class, so we began this 10-hour process the morning of the class.

This project didn’t only test my baking skills, but surprisingly, also my math skills!
The recipe for Vanilla Madiera Sponge Cake I followed from cakecrumbs.com only made enough for a 1 liter bowl. I decided to use the same recipe for each layer to make the job easy, so this meant multiplying the entire recipe by 6! On top of that, the recipe had its measurements written in grams and ounces, and I measured by cups. So the process of converting all the measurements took quite some time before I could begin the baking process. (Math is not my forte)

After I calculated all the measurements, we began the first step, which was to cream the sugar and butter. The trick to a good butter cake is to use equal parts butter and sugar.

DSC_0323

Next, we beat the eggs in one at a time. 17 eggs!DSC_0327 DSC_0329At this point we added in the vanilla flavoring.

(side note: many of the pictures are blurred because our camera’s auto focus was acting upDSC_0334This mixture filled our largest Pyrex bowl almost completely, and flour still had to go in. We had to transfer the batter into the largest bowl we had in the house to add in the dry ingredients.

C360_2015-03-19-10-43-14-839Next we separated the batter into the different size bowls and colored them accordingly.

DSC_0337Red for the inner core, yellow, for the outer core, and orange for the mantle. In the picture above the inner core is already baked.

DSC_0348To speed up the cooling process, we put the bowl in cold water.

DSC_0341DSC_0346While waiting for the cake to come together, we worked on the fondant. I made this fondant from scratch by melting two 10-oz bags of mini marshmallows in the microwave then adding icing sugar until it came into this thick consistency. It’s that easy! However, the work of kneading the fondant is quite tiring.

DSC_0349Once the inner core was cooled, we inserted it into the outer core. Covering the sides with batter prevents the cake from drying, as it does have to bake 3 times.

DSC_0353 DSC_0370 DSC_0369More fondant. We hand cut each continent and texturized them with gel food color.

DSC_0356My mom helped to pry the cake out of its bowl after it was finished baking and cooling.

DSC_0362At last! The final baking stage.

DSC_0374The batter rose a lot in the oven. We weighed this bowl and it was over 4 kilos (~8 pounds!)

DSC_0378We eventually cut off the huge chunk on the top to make the cake level. The scraps did not go to waste though 🙂

DSC_0377For the “crust” of the earth, we used chocolate buttercream frosting.

DSC_0380The next few photos show the fondant application, but they are very blurry!

DSC_0384 DSC_0400 DSC_0390 And finally…

DSC_0405Unfortunately, our Earth Cake is geographically incorrect. We didn’t properly size the continents before making them, and they were too large! We were only able to fit Eur-Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Philippines (Of course!)

 

 

 

DSC_0406The Philippines was nonproportionally large 🙂 Pinoy Pride!

DSC_0409The moment of truth! I was so eager to find out how the layers turned out. IMG_20150319_201011 IMG_20150319_201027Success!

IMG_20150319_201143 IMG_20150319_201112

It was a hit in the classroom!10659292_959596100719480_8005818831956689853_n

This was definitely worth trying and more fulfilling to make. It was my first time attempting to make anything like this, so although there were a few errors here and there, I was very satisfied with the end result. The entire process in making this 4-kilo cake took about ten hours, and I enjoyed every stage in creating it with my friends. Glad I had this opportunity!

Nothing I Hold Onto

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 [ESV]

I still remember the first time I heard this song. Graduation was fast approaching, and as I poured out my heart to my dearest cousin Verna, sharing all my anxieties, worries,and burdens; she shared this song to me, as a comfort. I didn’t think much of it in that moment.

It only showed significance when I was among the chaos of my scattered bedroom ,packing my things. As this song played and I gradually took apart a room that contained memories of a life I was trying so hard to hold on to, the emotions and tears flooded. I didn’t know what was in store for my future. The only thing I knew in that moment was that everything was going to change. But I found myself marinating in the lyrics of this song, knowing that I needed to let go. I needed to let go of the life that I wanted and trust in God’s sovereign plan. And that was so painful. The feeling is indescribable. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more pain than in this process of letting go.

Yes, it’s been a process. I’m still learning to let go, and let God. It’s been ten months, and the pain from separation, the pain from letting go is still healing. But day by day, He’s growing me. He’s making me into His beautiful creation. And I’ve learned that it’s only in letting go and emptying our hands and trusting God that we can fully experience His blessing.

The lyrics of this song is my prayer. There’s nothing I hold on to. Only Jesus.

i lean not on my own understanding // my life is in the hands of the Maker of Heaven

i give it all to you God // trusting that you’ll make something beautiful out of me

i will climb this mountain with my hands wide open // there’s nothing i hold onto

-Day 27-

Sentimentality

November 26, 2014 (Day 26)

Certain feelings, I think, are especially more valuable than others. A contrary example could be, every morning upon waking up, I have a feeling of renewal, a new day brings new opportunities. But there are feelings that happen much less often than others, causing them to feel more valuable…

One of my favorite feelings, a feeling that I certainly value, is walking into a room and knowing that the people in there genuinely love and accept you.
It kind of feels like this doesn’t happen often, perhaps you may think this is something one can only feel at a party or gathering especially to commemorate that person. But I’m thinking about something else. I guess, it’s a feeling that you don’t realize you get until the feeling happens less and less.

Right now, I’m thinking about a specific place, a room. And it’s only now, that I think about how much character that room had.
Being in that room for hours every week, you could feel every possible feeling there is to feel: from anger, happiness, to frustration. But there was one feeling, idea, or spirit that I feel, always reigned: love.
I miss that room. Not just because of how much time I spent in it or even the people or memories… but because it became my home. My safe haven in a sea of monsters.
I wonder when I’ll find a place like that again.
I crave for that feeling. It’s been a while.

I keep thinking to myself that it’s going to get better, but I inevitably end up comparing my life then to my life now, and I become this socially frustrated adolescent, wallowing in self-pity and looking for friendship by ironically, hiding away in my bedroom surfing the interwebs.

I hope it will get better. I think it’s starting to. But I can’t hold back the memories. The feeling of loss and distance. The yearning to experience true friendship again.

The question now is, Will it get better if I stay, or if I leave? Do I have to change? … or will this change me? 

Speed

November 24, 2014 (Day 25)

Life was moving too fast.
Piles of schoolwork, never-ending rehearsals for extracurricular activities, shows here and there.
It didn’t occur to me how stressful that life was.
But somehow, I enjoyed that life.
Being on the move, in acceleration 24/7 gave me a sense of purpose.
I had an apparent sense of direction.

Then, without anticipation, I hit a wall.
My life changed gears.

Life didn’t stop moving, it just… slowed down.
It’s slowing down.

And the feelings of loss, regret, idleness, and incompetence tear me away in moments where purpose and dreams are seemingly out of my reach.

And somehow, in my darkest moment, in my phase of weakness, I am reminded of a Savior.
And I cry out for help.
And in grace, He reaches out His arms, and whispers into the depths of my heart:

“My child, trust in me. Give your all to me, and let me take care of you. I want you to experience my greatness; my healing touch, and my provision. Let me use this season in your life to equip you for what I have in store for you in the future. Simply, let me use you.
Just trust me.”

Photo Credit: foothillsnetwork.ca

What I love about children

November 10, 2014 (Day 24)

Time.
So much our lives revolve around time. I am continually amazed by how fast it flies. I can still clearly remember the first real production I was in. In 2005, at the tender age of eight, I played Halo Hattie in our church’s Christmas play, Angel Alert!

Nine years later, I am teaching the same music, choreography, and lines to a large group of eccentric children.

I really love children. They are extremely tiring to deal with for a variety of reasons, their short attention span being one of them. My voice is almost gone from raising my voice at them to just, “Listen, Kids!!” However, I find so much joy in what I’m doing. They are so cute to watch and it truly is rewarding to see them respond to the material and perform it for us.

Although I am teaching these kids, I also learn so much from them. I admire their sponge-like quality, how teachable they are; how straightforward, responsive, and enthusiastic they are. Those are qualities I hope I haven’t lost since I grew up.

I want to live life with my hands and arms wide open, just like these children.

Real Talk

November 3, 2014 (Day 23)

I want to be a real person.

I want to speak the truth in love.
To compliment someone and mean it.
To be honest when a friend is hurting me.
To be kind to everyone, especially to those who don’t seem like they deserve kindness.

I want to have a positive, refreshing spirit so that others will feel good energy around me.
To say loving things about other people and avoid judgment.
To act and think in humility.
To put others before me.

I want to have purpose in everything I do.
To manage my time and do important things first.
To do all tasks to the best of my ability.
To focus on the goal and be a finisher.

I want to be genuine.
To do the right thing because it was my choice, not because it was written in the rules.
To be able to make my own choices without the influence of others.
To pray with meaning, humility, and trust.

I want to be a follower of Christ.
To love God above all things.
To love others before myself.
To pursue HIS dream for my life.

I just want to be a real woman.

20 Facts About Me

September 30, 2014 (DAY 21)

I’ve been tagged a few times already in this tag going around social media right now. I guess it’s a good way to get acquainted with readers of this new blog ^_^


1. My personality type is ENFP

This means I am Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling-based, and Perceptive. 

2. Music is my passion. I sing and can play the piano, guitar, ukulele, and violin. 

However, even though I say I can play them, I might not be that good. Haha. I started playing the piano at the age of 6, but never really progressed after the 6th grade. I learned guitar in 7th grade then ukulele shortly after. I took violin lessons for two years but never really excelled. Overall, I consider voice as my primary instrument.

3. My junior and senior year of high school were the best years of my life so far.

Not because I was away from my parents (if anything, my aunt was much more strict), but because I grew as a person the most from those years. I met some extraordinary friends, discovered so many things about myself and the world, and had unique opportunities to do things I love. I did go through many hard times, especially because I was away from my family, but those experiences molded me into a better person.

4. I don’t have a favorite color.

Maybe it’s because I have a hard time choosing things. But I just love color and how it can bring life to your eyes. If everything were just one color, wouldn’t that be boring?

5. I’ve never been in a serious relationship.

NO RAGRETS.

6. I crave adventure, but still have a sliver of fear pulling me back into my comfort zone.

There are other factors pulling me back as well, but I’ve found that when opportunity for adventure arose, I didn’t take it.

7. One of my fears is not having enough knowledge or wisdom in the future.

Sometimes I feel like I don’t read enough books or I’m not studious enough. And it scares me because I don’t want to not know stuff in the future, you know? Did that even make sense?

8. I prefer cold weather over warm.

I spent a majority of my life living in San Diego, California where the weather is basically perfect. I now live in the Philippines where the humidity is almost unbearable at times.  Needless to say, I miss San Diego.

9. One of my greatest desires is to start a family.

I secretly envy the 50’s American suburban lifestyle.  Yes, I fantasize about it all: the house and lot, two cars, a spiffy husband and 2 boys and 2 girls.

10.  Wishful dancer.

I’m not naturally talented or graceful as a dancer, but I try. Being in show choir for two years really inspired me that it is actually possible for me to dance. LOL.

11. I’m not a morning person.

But I always end up waking early, even when I plan on sleeping in.

12. I’m an extrovert with introverted tendencies. 

I love being around other people and socializing. However, if I’m not comfortable around them and feel pressured, I would rather leave and be in my own little corner.

13. My parents and brother are my best friends.

My family and I are thuper close!

14. One of my greatest frustrations is that I wasn’t able to attend any one of the  4-year universities I was accepted into.   

It’s a complicated story. I still get a heavy heart thinking about it.

15. I have a lowkey crazy fangirl side.

…Some things I consider myself a fan of:

Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, ABC’s Once Upon A Time, Pretty Little Liars, Disney (basically anything), The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, The Vampire Diaries, The Hunger Games…

There’s a lot more. I have had a lot of short-term obsessions. I can’t even remember all of them haha.

16. I find cooking tutorials unusually addictive to watch. 

I love food and I love cooking so, yeah! One of my favorite cooking channels on YouTube is Byron Talbott. Look him up!

17. I tend to over think situations & people.

Because of this, I get anxiety a lot. Also, if I’m being lazy and unproductive, it’s most likely because I have anxiety.

18. Makeup would be a regular hobby if it wasn’t so expensive.

No, Urban Decay, I will not buy your Naked palette for $50. I’ll settle for my e.l.f. baked eyeshadow palette for $10, thank you very much 🙂

19. Fighting to be a completely committed follower of Jesus Christ. 

It’s an everyday battle, but it is so worth it. Serving Him out of love, not fear. His grace is overwhelming.

20.  Lost in the world, found in Jesus!

Right now, in this season of life, I can honestly say that I am so lost. I don’t know where my life is heading but somehow, I am okay. And I know I am okay because I have Christ on my side. Trusting in Him every step of the way!


Thanks for reading! Shalom!

 

There is so much more than this life

IMG_20034213973408

Children line up to receive food

September 28, 2014 (DAY 20)

Today, my college had a missions outreach here in Zamboanga City.

As most people know, there was a war outbreak here in the city a little over a year ago. During the war, hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes either because of close proximity to danger, or because of their homes being burned down by fires caused by rebels.

These families were evacuated into different places, but a majority of them were moved into Western Mindanao State University’s (WMSU) Grandstand, which was previously used to hold large sporting events.

So, our school’s outreach target was at the grandstand, and we joined a feeding program which catered to children. I had just heard about this a few days before, so I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t anticipate the impact of seeing these children in such a personal way.

When we arrived at the WMSU, we gathered at the gate for about ten minutes before actually entering the grandstand. As we entered the complex, my heart began to sink. My feet sank into the wet ground that was once grass that surrounded the track. Around me, children played with each other barefoot and carelessly, each of them wearing little to no soiled clothing. Teenage boys played improvised basketball in the limited space they had, using a wooden hoop to score. Elderly sat around in the hot sun with defeated expressions on their faces.

Children play on a dilapidated basketball goal. In the background, you can see the bleachers that are covered in shacks.

Children play on a dilapidated basketball goal. In the background, you can see the bleachers that are covered in shacks.

Walking through the grandstand, you could barely tell what this place used to be. Moving along, you could see the ground had rubbery patches that were a rusty, red-brown color. It was remnants of the track that is now destroyed by the hundreds of shacks built upon it. The concrete bleachers that stood several meters high were covered in shacks made of a very cheap, commonly used material here in the Philippines. The ground was moist and covered in giant puddles of green, rotted water. The air smelled like a mix of spoiled raw fish and a public restroom. In my point of view, these were brutal and harsh living conditions.

IMG_20034213973408

Children lining up with their mugs to receive their food

But as I passed by these people, especially the children, they seemed so contented. I saw that they could still find joy in their lives, even in their poverty. But probably to them, they weren’t in poverty. The life they had in those tiny little shacks was the only life they knew of.  However, I also witnessed corruption within the villages. I watched in disappointment as a young boy of probably 13 or 14 years old smoked a cigarette. A young mother carried around her baby with little clothing. A girl about 6 or 7 years old took care of a neglected, crying baby. I later found out that there are several cases of rape and abuse in the village, especially with children as victims. Authorities are clueless as how to solve this problem. My stomach was churning knowing about these adversities.

Oue EMS (Ebenezer Missions Society) President assisting in the feeding process.

Oue EMS (Ebenezer Missions Society) President assisting in the feeding process.

A child gets marked after being served her food, which was a nutrient-rich porridge. A simple meal was enough to make these children happy.

A child gets marked after being served her food, which was a nutrient-rich porridge. A simple meal was enough to make these children happy.

The program workers led us into this large hut type function hall that I’m assuming is used for large gatherings. Children were brought in, and we began to do activities with them. At this point, I was just so overwhelmed. I didn’t know how to handle myself so I just stood at the sidelines and observed. I just thought to myself, “God, please don’t let me forget this feeling.” My heart felt so heavy as I watched these malnourished, under clothed children sing and dance happily to the activities. I didn’t want to forget how I felt because I couldn’t stand seeing people live like that. I felt a longing inside to make a difference.

I found myself just watching and studying these children carefully on the side, trying to imagine and put myself in their shoes. I studied their facial expressions, some of them looked lost and left out. Others were wild, some happy, some confused. I just wanted to grab every single one of them and hug them tightly and tell them, “There is so much more than this life. This is not it. There’s a whole world out there waiting for you. You are loved and cared for so deeply.” There is so much love and beauty that I have experienced in my eighteen years, and just thinking that most of these children may not even experience the same, made me just want to cry.

[PHOTO GALLERY BELOW]

My heart never felt so heavy. I didn’t speak to a single child that day. Maybe because of the language barrier, but also because I couldn’t control my emotions. But one of the greatest feelings I had that day was smiling at a child, and them smiling back; as if I communicated love and comfort through just a simple smile. The elation I felt moved me even more. I just kept praying and thinking how I could make a change.

Coming from a country like the United States, and much more, having lived in such a materialized, progressive city as Los Angeles, witnessing people living in that lifestyle really troubled me. It made me question my own lifestyle and the things I value. I can’t thank God enough for the life He’s gifted me with. After that experience, I can’t help but to feel obliged to help these people. I just don’t know how. But for now, I’ll just keep praying for them. That’s the best I can do right now.